Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not Quite Banana Muffins

I tried to make muffins over the weekend -- Saturday morning to be exact. But I forgot a **crucial** ingredient -- the rising agent! So, instead of fluffy muffins, I had compact, but delicious, things. I don't really have a word for them. But I just finished off the last one. Yummy.

Not Quite Banana Muffins
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup organic canola oil
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup pepitas

What I did
Preheat oven to 350F.
Put the flours and salt into a bowl, let Jacqui mix.
Mash the bananas in another (bigger) bowl.
Give Adrianna her own bowl and a spoon to mix her imaginary not-quite-muffin-batter.
Add the oil and sugar to the mashed bananas, let Jacqui mix well. Add the water and vanilla, and let her mix well again.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and fold everything together. Once it's mostly mixed, let Jacqui mix some more. Make sure to incorporate all the dry ingredients.
Chop the pecans. Let Jacqui add in the chopped pecans and pepitas.
Have Jacqui (is this child labor???) line the muffin tins. Spoon the not-quite-muffin batter into the tins. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F.
This made 16 not-quite-muffins for me. The first set, I put in as if I had remembered the rising agent, expecting some vertical growth. After there was none in the first batch, I just topped the second batch out to the top of the liners, so I only had enough batter for four more. I filled the other muffin-holes with water and baked for 30 minutes too.

Not muffins. No rising. Looked really funky. Taste: Delicious! Jacqui ate them. Adrianna ate them. I ate them. Even Dave ate them! Woo hoo! And we finished them in just a few days. Next time, though, I'm going to try to remember the rising agent. Muffins, here we come!

(If you want to make them rise, I think I meant to add 1 or 1 1/2 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients. Try it out. Let me know if that works!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vegan Sprouted Spelt Lentil and Garbanzo Stew

This will be dinner (or lunch) for the girls tomorrow. It's supposed to be a cold day tomorrow, so I thought a good hearty soup/stew would be welcome. This is made in a slow cooker.

I bought whole spelt on our last trip to Maryland. On Saturday night, I soaked a cup of it, draining the spelt on Sunday, and left it in the pot. Today (Monday), I left it out for the whole day, and the spelt sprouted! I was planning on using it to make spelt minestrone, so the soup is now sprouted spelt minestrone.

1 cup whole spelt grain
2 T extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 green (or yellow) zucchini, sliced and quartered
1 cup frozen green beans
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
2 squares vegan low-sodium bouillon
3/4 cup dried green lentils
3/4-1 cup dried garbanzos -- 2 cups cooked
2 handfuls pine nuts

What to do
Sprout the grain (or don't, but at least soak it overnight).
Put the slow cooker on high. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini, beans, tomatoes and tomato liquid, bouillon, and enough water to cover. Mix together. Pick through the lentils, rinse, and add. Toss in two handfuls of pine nuts. Cook for 2-3 hours on high, then switch to low and cook overnight. In the morning, turn the slow cooker to warm.
Meanwhile, soak the garbanzos overnight. Cook in a pressure cooker in the morning, and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups garbanzos to the slow cooker. (This is my tomorrow-morning-step.)
(I'm actually soaking 1 1/2 cups dried garbanzos to make extra to freeze for future meals. 1 1/2 cups dried garbanzos should cook up to at least 4 1/2 cups garbanzos, maybe more.)

More tomorrow on this soup.

Update: This is not a soup. It is a stew. A thick and hearty stew. I also updated the amount of garbanzos -- Jacqui and I decided to add two cups of cooked beans this morning after I pressured cooked the beans. We both thought that the stew needed more of these super delish beans!

I renamed this stew. It's not really a minestrone anymore. It's a pure stew. I brought some for lunch, so a blackberry photo will be added shortly. :)

Update: photos up. As usual, my blackberry photos aren't too good. The soup tastes better than it looks. It's a little tangy, and quite filling. This thermos filled me up for lunch.

Vegan Cranberry Orange Scones

I made scones yesterday for breakfast with Jacqui's help. Just a few ingredients (that you probably already have in your kitchen) mixed together and baked at 425F for 12 minutes. Jacqui ate the batter, Dave ate two, and even our visiting (non-vegan) friend ate two and liked them! :)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole spelt flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp orange zest
2/3 cup chopped pecans and walnuts
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 T sunflower oil
3/4 cup orange juice (I juiced our remaining orange for ~ 1/2 cup and then filled it up with orange-mango juice)

What to do
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Total flour should be 3 cups. I broke it out into 1/1/1 because I wanted to use spelt flour, I wanted to use whole wheat flour, and I had 1 cup of all-purpose flour remaining in my bag. I think that, to keep the scones from becoming too heavy, you'll not want to use more than 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, but it might work with 2 cups. Chop the nuts (I used 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/6 cup chopped walnuts for two reasons: 1. I only had 1/2 cup pecans and 2. I am allergic to walnuts, but can generally handle them in small quantities). Stir in the cranberries and chopped nuts.
Juice orange or measure out the boxed orange juice. Mix (whisk) the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.
Add the dry to the wet and stir to combine. Jacqui did this step mostly by herself. I had to mix in the bottom/last flour myself, but she was able to do this really well herself.
Place parchment paper on your baking sheet. Using one or two spoons, spoon the mixture and drop it onto the paper. Put 6 - 8 dropped scones on the sheet, then bake for 10-12 minutes (12 minutes did it for me, but I checked at 10 just to be sure). Drop 6 - 8 scones on the sheet again, and bake for 12 minutes, this time setting off one of the alarms in the apt and waking anyone still sleeping. (But really, who is still sleeping at 8-something in the morning on a beautiful Sunday???) Place on a cooling rack and let them cool for a few minutes before devouring.
Serve plain, or with some vegan butter or jelly or maple syrup.

We enjoyed these plain. They are just sweet enough to not need anything else. Jacqui had filled up on the uncooked dough/batter and didn't eat much of her baked scone, but Dave, Ryan, and I ate two each. Yum yum yum.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not food I made....

Today, Adrianna and Jacqui went to the doctor. I had told Jacqui about the trip last night, and how Adrianna was going to get a shot. Jacqui asked about the shot all morning, and kept telling me that "I want Adrianna to get her shot." Cute? Not so sure. When I asked her if she wanted a shot, she cried, "No No No! No Shot!"

Jacqui got a shot this morning. So, while Adrianna slept off the effects of her shot, we scootered over to Washington Ave and got some vegan pistachio ice cream for me and Jacqui to share and some vegan pasta pie for Jacqui to have for lunch. The ice cream was yummy, and Jacqui ate a cone for the first time! Not sure how much of the pasta pie she ate after all that ice cream, but she got a shot. I think she can have ice cream instead of lunch.... :)

And last night, I decided to do something new with the girls before bedtime. I got them into clean diapers and then gave them each a massage with organic baby massage oil. I used to do this all the time with Jacqui when she was first born, but at some point, we stopped. And never really started with Adrianna.

Jacqui said that Adrianna should have the first massage -- she's such a generous older sister! Then it was Jacqui's turn. Then pajama time. Then, Jacqui said that she wanted to give me a massage too. So, she had me lie down on the blanket I had put on the ground for her and Adrianna, and proceeded to try to wipe some oil from her tummy onto her hands, and then massage my feet (after first tickling them) and my hands/arms (again, first tickling them). Such a sweet girl! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vegan Lentil Soups

I made these two soups last week. Both were big hits with the girls -- and with me! Both are lentil-based soups, made in the slow cooker. Perfect for days when you need a home-cooked meal, but just don't have the time (or won't be home) to make it when you want/need to eat.

Lentil Soup with Kale Ribbons
olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 large yellow carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups dried green lentils, picked over and rinsed
6 cups warm or hot water
3 low-salt vegan boullion squares
1 T Bragg's sauce
remains of a bunch of kale, stemmed

What To Do
Before going to work on Sunday afternoon, heat a saute pan over medium heat. When warm, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots. Saute unil soft, adding water if needed, approximately 8-10 minutes.
Add the water and vegetable boullion to the slow cooker, mix to break up/in the boullion. Add the sauteed veggies to slow cooker. Add the lentils and Bragg's. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Meanwhile, roll the kale and cut thin strips. Boil a salted pot of water, add the kale when it is boiling, and cook the kale for 5-6 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Leave the kale next to the slow cooker for Dave to mix into the soup before feeding it to the girls for dinner.

This soup was a big hit with both Jacqui and Adrianna. Woo hoo! :)

Lentil and Garbanzo Soup
olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 yellow carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp groun cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 large can of diced tomatoes, without juice (save other half to make soup again)
1 can organic garbanzos, drained and rinsed
6 cups warm or hot water
3 low-salt vegan boullion sqaures

What To Do
When I get home late Sunday night from work, and know that I won't be getting a meal tomorrow unless I make it tonight...heat a saute pan over medium heat. When warm, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the chopped onion, garlic, and carrots. Cover and cook unil soft, adding water if needed. Add the ginger, tumeric, cinnamon, cumin, and cardamon, stirring to coat the veggies. Add water if it gets too gummy.
Add the water and vegetable boullion to the slow cooker, mix to break up/in the boullion. Add the coated veggies to slow cooker. Add the lentils, garbanzos, and tomatoes. Cook on low overnight (for 6-8 hours).

Place the slow cooker to warm in the morning, spoon soup into a to-go thermos, and enjoy a piping hot container of soup at lunchtime on the go!

I meant to make couscous to serve with this soup, but didn't have the time to get it made Monday morning before I dashed out of the apartment at 7 am. So it was couscous-less the first day. It should be served with couscous or brown rice, or any other whole grain. Jacqui and Adrianna loved this soup too. Yay!